RALEIGH – A nonprofit organization asked by state environmental officials to review the state’s oil and gas regulatory programs as part of a legislatively mandated study of oil and gas exploration in North Carolina will begin its public review of these programs next week in Raleigh.
State Review of Oil & Natural Gas Environmental Regulations, Inc. (STRONGER), a nonprofit organization whose board is comprised of state, industry and public interest representatives, will conduct a review of the environmental regulatory programs of the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources against national guidelines developed by STRONGER. The review will be conducted by a stakeholder review team, which consists of a representative of the public, a representative from the oil and gas industry, a state representative and official observers.
The review will begin on Oct. 24 at 8 a.m. in Room H120 of 2728 Capital Boulevard in Raleigh; it will continue on Oct. 25 in room 2115 of the Dobbs Building at 430 N. Salisbury Street in Raleigh. The team will continue to meet throughout the rest of the week in the Dobbs Building until the review is completed.
The public is invited to observe STRONGER’s review process from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. each day. Although STRONGER does not take public comments during these sessions, the STRONGER review team will collect written comments on the review process at the end of each session. At 2 p.m. each day, the STRONGER review panel will go into an executive session involving only the panel members.
A report containing the review team findings and recommendations will be developed by early February 2012 and made available to interested parties. Additional information about STRONGER, the guidelines and reports of prior state reviews can be found at www.strongerinc.org, or by calling/emailing Ben Grunewald at (405) 516-4972 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Session Law 2011-276 directed DENR to study the potential environmental and economic impacts of shale gas exploration and development in North Carolina. DENR held an initial public meeting on Oct. 10 to receive input on its draft plan of study, and will schedule two more public meetings next year before presenting a final report to the General Assembly in early May.